Grand Theft Auto V

Five Grand Theft Auto Alternatives to Tide You Over

No cash or time to play Grand Theft Auto V, or is it not just your type of game? Well, here are five alternatives to tide you over until the hype dies down.

Everyone is talking about Grand Theft Auto V today and they are probably gushing about it to no end. What if you’re not into the Grand Theft Auto series, or you just don’t have the cash to play it right now?

Here’s a list of mostly PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC games that can tide you over until the hype dies or until you get the chance to pick-up the game. Most of these games have used copies available or on sale frequently. They are also mostly similar to Grand Theft Auto since they are largely under the ‘open-world’ and  ‘action-adventure’ genre but  still manages to stand out in their own special way.

So, that can keep you at bay while everyone is playing Grand Theft Auto V. Conversely, maybe one of these games will be a perfect match for you if GTA wasn’t quite the game you were looking for.

I’ve also listed the review scores of these games from IGN and GameSpot. Click the links I’ve provided below to read the reviews! As always, let me know what you think in the comments.

1. Sleeping Dogs

Are you one of those gamers who wished Grand Theft Auto was set in a city outside of the US? If yes, then Sleeping Dogs delivers the fresh locale and culture of one of Asia’s most vibrant cities- Hong Kong.

If you’ve played any GTA game in the past, it’s easy to catch on how to play this game. You can store vehicles in a garage, change your protagonist’s clothes, listen to cool radio stations with Chinese tracks, and complete entertaining side-missions. The melee combat is quite fun too.

Plus, Emma Stone.

Who is it for: People who love the Grand Theft Auto series, but have been waiting for an entry that offers a new locale, different set of characters, and narrative outside of the American themes that we are used to.

Who isn’t it for: If you’re not into the whole Asian setting? This also isn’t a ridiculous game with dildos, so if you’re looking for a game that’s over the top action-adventure then this isn’t for you.

IGN gave it 8.5/10, while GameSpot gave it a solid 8/10.

2. The Simpsons Hit and Run

Grand Theft Auto meets The Simpsons. You can steal cars, attack people, change Homer’s outfits among many other things. The game is open-world too so you can spend a fraction of your time just exploring various locations.

Who is it for: People who still have their PlayStation 2 around because this game isn’t available on the PlayStation Network last time I checked. You will enjoy this if you are a fan of The Simpsons and if you’re looking for some ridiculous fun that pokes fun at GTA and other similar titles.

Who isn’t it for: If you’re looking an intriguing story line with substantial characters, then this isn’t for you. This also isn’t a game for you if you’re looking for a world where you can drown yourselves for hours. It’s fun to explore, but don’t expect it to be as vibrant as San Andreas or Skyrim.

IGN and GameSpot both gave it a solid 8/10.

3. Red Dead Redemption

Grand Theft Auto goes western complete with horses, dueling showdowns, and a vast desert to explore. I spent so much time playing this game. If you are thinking of playing this, prepare to spend hours simply trying to hunt animals (specifically wolves) to skin for money. Sort of reminds you of Skyrim? 

Anyway, there’s a lot to do in this game besides the main quest. I enjoyed the diversions like completing bounties by catching outlaws using a lasso technique. You can also gamble, but it was actually fun to simply travel to different locations by horse. The Dead Eye targeting mechanic is also a neat feature where everything goes slow motion and you can select multiple targets to shoot.

Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare is also an awesome and worthwhile DLC to check out because zombies.


Who is it for: Obviously, people who are fond of the western genre. It’s also a suitable game if you prefer activities like skinning animals and riding horses over more modern diversions.

Who isn’t it for: If you specifically enjoy more modern and familiar games where you fly planes and drive cars along busy city streets with skyscrapers.

IGN gave it an impressive score of 9.7/10, while GameSpot scored it 9.5/10. 

4. Saints Row series


Alright, I’m going to recommend Saints Row 2, The Third, IV under one section. I haven’t played the first one, but I’m guessing it’s similar to the second entry in the franchise. In my opinion, Saints Row was closely similar to Grand Theft Auto in terms of the balance between ridiculousness and seriousness up until the second game.

However, the franchise began to totally differentiate itself when Saints Row: The Third  came out. It didn’t feel like a Grand Theft Auto wannabe anymore as it started to form its own identity as a franchise that thrives on hilarious vulgarity and over-the-top action. One of the best things about the third and fourth game is how self-aware it was of how ridiculous they were. It was evident in moments when they parody popular titles beyond Grand Theft Auto.

The radio stations are great. Hearing Ride of the Valkyires by Wagner or Bonnie Tyler’s Holding Out for a Hero play during action packed scenes was enough to get my blood pumping… to my LOINS! OHH (as the protagonist says).

Oh in Saints Row IV, you’re now the President of the United States and you beat up invading aliens with super powers.

When you look at GTA and Saints Row, it’s like looking at Space Balls and Star Wars, or even Galaxy Quest and Star Trek. 

Who is it for: Gamers who appreciate tongue-in-cheek humor as it is and aren’t easily offended. Action first kind of people, with storytelling taking a backseat.

Who isn’t it for: It annoys me when people criticize the franchise for being dumb. Well, it’s not trying to be a Michael Mann film or a satirical take on corrupt society. If you want a more serious open world game, then this isn’t for you. Saints Row 1 and 2 might be appealing though.

IGN and GameSpot both gave the third game a score of 8.5/10. The fourth received 7.3 and 7.5 respectively.

5. Mafia II


While Mafia II doesn’t explore cities outside of America, it does give players the opportunity to bask in a different era (1940’s-1950s) and subculture of the Mafia world. It is an open-world game, but it feels more linear at times because there’s nothing really to do except drive around.

You don’t have diversions or a choice to pursue missions in any order. You accomplish one mission at a time, but I think you can explore before doing so if I’m not mistaken.

However, that doesn’t mean the locale was sloppily made. It’s beautifully made world that supplements the game’s tone and story. The radio stations provide timely and entertaining tracks that will transport you decades back.

Who is it for: Gamers who like anything in the mobster genre like The Godfather. If you don’t mind linear action-adventure games, then you won’t have any qualms about this game. Definitely for people who are fond of games set in past decades.

Who isn’t it for: If you’re someone who wants more open-world elements, then you’ll have a lot of issues with it. This isn’t something you’ll want to play if you want over-the-top action and B-movie humor.

IGN gave it a solid score of 7/10, while GameSpot rated it higher with 8.5/10.

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Yesika Reyes

The other half who founded Gamemoir. Entrepreneur, writer, gamer, and also a human being. Follow me on Twitter @cdrbedlam

  • I picked up a copy of Saints Row 1 on Sunday. I wanted to learn more about the characters who come back for SR4. All I’ll say is the series has really improved.

    • Glad you liked it! I really liked how the series evolved too. I don’t think I’ll get to play Saints Row 1 because I’m on the PlayStation.

      What did you think of Saints Row 2?

      • It’s good, better than SR1 anyway. It has more of the crew from 3,4 (Shaundi, Pierce so far) I played about 5 hours of SR1 before moving on to SR2. SR2 still blocks mission with the Respect level, but I can play Casual difficulty and not get frustrated with the crappy combat system. SR1 didn’t have casual, and I’m frustrated by having to restart failed missions.

      • It’s good, better than SR1 anyway. It has more of the crew from 3,4 (Shaundi, Pierce so far) I played about 5 hours of SR1 before moving on to SR2. SR2 still blocks mission with the Respect level, but I can play Casual difficulty and not get frustrated with the crappy combat system. SR1 didn’t have casual, and I’m frustrated by having to restart failed missions.

  • From these games, the only one I’m missing is Mafia II, might have to get it soon!

    • I heard the DLC is good too!

      • Coincidentally, Mafia II is currently free on GameFly…I might join there just to get it :O

  • Great to see Simpsons Hit and Run on the list!

  • Stoked to see Simpsons Hit and Run make the list – underrated gem!

    • Very true. I only found this game when my friend and I were trading games years before! Glad I found it.

  • Oh I have such fond memories of Hit and Run. That game was such a joy to play. And I absolutely loved Sleeping Dogs, it was one of my favorites from last year.

  • Vic 2.0

    Only problem is, Sleeping Dogs is BETTER than GTA 5. So if you play SD first, and it takes more to impress you than killer graphics and a huge map (e.g., you actually want to have FUN playing a video game), you may be disappointed with 5.

    You have been warned.